Four Grammy Awards renamed to include 'video games music,' underline its growing importance

Vlad Savov
V. Savov|04.13.11

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Four Grammy Awards renamed to include 'video games music,' underline its growing importance
Video games have never had a problem sitting alongside movie DVDs and music CDs (back when such things were distributed physically) in stores, so it's frankly overdue to see them pop up in a mainstream awards show like the Grammys. The US Recording Academy has finally deigned to address video games and their aural landscapes as a separate class of entertainment, and has now amended four of its awards to spell that out. What was formerly known as "Motion, Television, or Other Visual Media" is now reclassified as "Motion, Television, Video Games Music, or Other Visual Media," leading to there now being four awards that explicitly recognize excellence in video game music scores. Guess that was inevitable after Christopher Tin's Baba Yetu won a Grammy this February, ostensibly because of its inclusion as one of the marquee songs on Civilization 4, but in a category entirely unrelated to gaming. Skip past the break to hear it for yourself, along with a couple of other favorites of ours.

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Restructuring of Categories Across All Genres Brings Total Number of Categories to be Recognized at the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2012 to 78; All Fields Remain Intact
Minimum Number of Entries Per Category Will Now Be 40, Up from 25

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (April 06, 2011) - In an effort to continuously evolve its GRAMMY® Awards process, The Recording Academy® ( announced today that it has restructured the GRAMMY Categories across all genres and Fields, bringing the total number of Categories to be recognized at the 54th GRAMMY Awards in 2012, to 78 (from 109). All Fields remain the same. The announcement was made this morning at The Academy's headquarters by President/CEO Neil Portnow, Academy Board Chair Emeritus and five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam, and Vice President of Awards Bill Freimuth. Additionally, a minimum of 40 distinct artist entries will be required in each Category (up from 25). Detailed information on these and other recent changes may be found at For updates and breaking news, please visit The Academy's social networks on Twitter and Facebook:,

"Every year, we diligently examine our Awards structure to develop an overall guiding vision and ensure that it remains a balanced and viable process," said Portnow. "After careful and extensive review and analysis of all Categories and Fields, it was objectively determined that our GRAMMY Categories be restructured to the continued competition and prestige of the highest and only peer-recognized award in music. Our Board of Trustees continues to demonstrate its dedication to keeping The Recording Academy a pertinent and responsive organization in our dynamic music community."

For 53 years, The Recording Academy has recognized musical excellence with the GRAMMY Awards - the most prestigious and only peer-recognized award in music - and the awards have grown from 28 Categories in 1959, to awards in 109 Categories for the most recent 53rd GRAMMYs. This growth springs from a tradition of honoring specific genres and/or subgenres within a Field, and it has basically been approached one Category at a time without a current overall guiding vision and without consistency across the various genre Fields. In 2009, The Academy initiated a first-ever comprehensive evaluation of its Awards process, which led to a desire for change. A transformation of the entire Awards structure would ensure that all Fields would be treated with parity. Diligent research, careful analysis, and thoughtful discussion of all Fields resulted in an overarching framework and a restructuring of Categories to 78, and ensures that every submission continues to have a home.

In addition to the restructuring of Categories, two rule changes have been established and four Fields have been renamed. It is now expected that each Category shall have at least 40 distinct artist entries, up from 25. If a Category receives between 25 – 39 entries, only three recordings would receive nominations that year. Should there be fewer than 25 entries in a Category, that Category would immediately go on hiatus for the current year - no award given - and entries would be screened into the next most logical Category. If a Category receives fewer than 25 entries for three consecutive years, the Category would be discontinued, and submissions would be entered in the next most appropriate Category.

The second rule change is regarding voting. Previously, voting members were allowed to vote in up to nine genre Fields plus the General Field on the first ballot and eight genre Fields plus the General Field on the second ballot, including every category within each chosen Field. Now, on each ballot, voters may vote in up to 20 Categories in the genre Fields plus the four Categories of the General Field - which includes Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist.

Additionally, there are name changes to four Fields: Musical Show is now Musical Theater; the Film/ Television/Other Visual Media Field is now called Music For Visual Media; the Gospel Field has been renamed the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Field; and the Dance Field has been renamed the Dance/Electronica Field.

The Awards restructuring proposal was presented by The Recording Academy's Awards & Nominations (A&N) Committee - comprised of elected Academy leaders from across the country representing various genres of the music community - and was voted on and passed by The Academy's Board of Trustees - made up of musicians, producers, engineers, songwriters, and other music professionals. The A&N Committee spent more than a year reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating the GRAMMY Awards process and Categories with great objectivity and fair-mindedness, before presenting its recommendations to the Board of Trustees for ratification. While at times incredibly challenging for each member of the committee to restructure Categories in their own respective genres, the greater purpose of promoting unity within the music community and ensuring that all Fields be treated with parity outweighed natural inclinations to resist change.

Please visit for the following resources and detailed information:

A Category Comparison Chart (comparing Categories from the 53rd GRAMMYs to the upcoming 54th GRAMMYs)
An Explanation of Category Restructuring across all genres
A Category Mapper (an interactive feature that will show where to enter submissions under the new structure)
Frequently Asked Questions
Upcoming dates and deadlines for the 54th GRAMMY Awards online entry period

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the GRAMMY Awards - the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music - The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit For breaking news and exclusive content, join the organization's social networks as a Twitter follower at, a Facebook fan at, and a YouTube channel subscriber at
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